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Beca co-founder receives an entrepreneurship award

Press Release 13 October 2005

Beca co-founder receives an entrepreneurship award

Sir Ron Carter, strategic advisor and former executive chairman of the Beca group, was honoured with a special Commendation Award at the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2005 last night at a gala banquet in Auckland. The honour recognises his commitment to entrepreneurship and exceptional achievements in business. From 17 finalists, five category winners and the commendation were honoured.

“I am delighted to receive this honour and acknowledge that this would not have been possible without the strength of the original partners at Beca and those that have subsequently taken over the firm. I believe that entrepreneurship occurs across the entire senior ranks of Beca,” said Sir Ron Carter. “The Beca group is approaching 90 years of age, is the largest independent employer of professionally qualified staff in the country and is still New Zealand-owned. At any one time, it has a continuing design and management role for around $2 billion projects, and is a significant earner of foreign exchange for New Zealand,” he added. Beca’s overseas earnings doubled during 2002-2005 and formed a third of its total earnings, based on a strong foundation laid under Sir Ron Carter’s leadership.

Sir Ron was one of the four founding partners of Beca and when he stepped down in 2001, Beca had grown to 1200 staff, with 15 permanent offices in Australasia and Southeast Asia. Apart from leading the engineering trail, he chaired the panel on Auckland’s water shortage in 1994 and was on the prime minister’s review panel on electricity in 1992.

The key strategies he adopted at Beca were employee ownership, robust financial management and strategic international partnerships. Three drivers of the business – marketing, execution and financial management naturally affect each other and are interlocked, according to Sir Ron Carter. “They illustrate the principle of which I frequently advise our staff – business success is easy – you only have to win work, carry it out economically and get paid for it!” he concluded.


Note to editors

Sir Ron Carter: With a masters degree in civil engineering from the University of Auckland, Sir Ron Carter joined Gray Watts and Beca in 1959 at the age of 23. After a two-year period in England working for the highly respected engineer Ove Arup, he returned to New Zealand in 1962 and in 1965 became a co-owner with George Beca (of Gray Watts and Beca) with a staff of 40. When he retired from the Board in 2001, the staff had grown to 1200 with projects in more than 40 countries. The growth in both the size and sophistication of work which Beca undertakes is a direct result of the strategies that the company followed many of which are conceived and put into action by Sir Ron. In addition to his contribution to the engineering profession, he headed a panel which reviewed the Auckland City Council’s financial and contractual risk for the Britomart project in 1996. He has also headed the Civil Aviation Authority. He serves as a director of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce and Industry and is a member of Auckland Grammar School Foundation – formerly on its Board for 18 years. Sir Ron is currently a director of four public companies and participates in many organisations concerned with the delivery of infrastructure in New Zealand.

Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award: Ernst & Young developed the Entrepreneur of the Year Award programme 19 years ago in the United States. Now a global award programme in 35 countries, it’s celebrating New Zealand entrepreneurs with the New Zealand Entrepreneur of the Year Award programme for eight years.

Beca: Established in 1918, Beca is the largest employee-owned professional services company employing 1600 staff in 13 countries, with projects in over 63 countries. Beca works in five key sectors: industry, building, infrastructure, environmental and resource management, and delivers engineering, planning, project management, applied technologies and valuation services. Headquartered in Auckland, Beca operates from three market hubs: New Zealand, Australia and Singapore, and designs and supervises projects with a total value of over NZ$2,400 million annually. Recent projects include terminal expansion at the Wellington and Auckland International Airports, Britomart Transport Centre in Auckland, Westpac Stadium in Wellington, Sky Tower and Casino Centre in Auckland, Manukau Wastewater Treatment Plant in Mangere, Auckland City Hospital and the 338m Macau Tower in China. Beca is ranked 89th in the top 200 international design firms (Source: Engineering News Record 2004). Beca is AS/NZS ISO 9001:2000 certified, and has won over 50 awards in the last five years alone.


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